Private evaluations are different from evaluations done by the school. One difference is that the process isn’t covered under like school evaluations are. (IDEA is the federal special education law.) So you don’t have the same legal protections.
They’re also not arranged and paid for by the school. You’ll need to find and hire the private evaluator yourself. The costs can be very high. Sometimes, insurance will cover private evaluations. You might be able to get a low-cost or free private evaluation. But for the most part, parents pay out of pocket.
A private evaluation is a tool to better understand your child’s challenges and get the best help possible. But it’s also a business transaction. Asking lots of questions will help you choose a good evaluator for your child and avoid disagreements.
This checklist can help you get the answers you need to find the right fit.
- Are you a licensed provider?
- What is your area of specialization?
- How many years have you been in practice?
- Do you have expertise in evaluating kids with learning and thinking differences?
- How many children have you evaluated who have difficulties like my child’s?
- How much will the evaluation cost?
- What is the wait time for starting the evaluation? (It’s usually a good sign if the evaluator isn’t available immediately.)
- What should my child and I expect on the day of the evaluation? How long will it take?
- What types of tests are you planning to give my child?
- Will you be completing the evaluation yourself, or will you have interns or assistants doing some of it?
- When will the results of the evaluation be ready?
- Can you make specific recommendations for interventions and accommodations to me, teachers, schools psychologists, and others who work with my child?
- Would you be willing to talk to these professionals before and/or after the evaluation process?
Find out steps to take if you’re not satisfied with a private evaluation. And watch a video that shows what happens in a dyslexia evaluation.
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About the author
About the author
The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.
Ellen Braaten, PhD is the director of LEAP at Massachusetts General Hospital.